I came upon a post recently…on Google Reader…a post about assuming positive intent. The article focused mainly on how this concept applies to marriage and close relationships. Not a new concept and goes by the alias of giving someone “the benefit of the doubt.”
The gist of it…
If at all possible, assume positive intentions….even when the circumstances point toward a deliberate slight. Obviously there has to be some “give your head a shake” common sense involved in assigning blame….or not. if your partner/parent/child/friend slaps you….calls you names….lies to you….steals from you….positive intentions do not apply. If they are late for dinner, forget your birthday, hurt your feelings…it does not necessarily mean they did these things on purpose….with negative intent.
How do you figure out the difference? Perhaps based on their normal behavior….their character….the history of the relationship.
Our human relationships can be a reflection of our spiritual relationship with God. Do we assume positive intent on his part….when things are not going so great? The buck does stop with him, after all. He has the ultimate say so…the final vote. And being omnipotent and all….he has the power to bring it to fruition.
I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too difficult for Me? Jer 32:27
We can’t plead our case to a higher authority because…..well…there isn’t one. There is no such thing as going “over his head.” No appeals process, no higher ranking official.
Frustrating sometimes. Maddeningly so.
annie posted a quote the other day on her FB page….
The reason the mass of men fear God and at bottom dislike him is because they rather distrust his heart...
Many times I’ve questioned his motives. Many times I’ve distrusted his heart.
But I’d like to suggest that we might do better to assume positive intentions on his part no matter what the circumstances look like. To draw close….to “cleave” instead of “leave.”
He does declare his love and faithfulness throughout scripture. Nowhere more clearly that in Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. NIV
Shall not the judge of all the earth do right? Sounds like positive intent to me…..